Saint Ines Mission, founded in 1804, is the 19th of the 21 California Missions.

Saint Ines Monument (Photo by Bill Toninato)
Saint Ines Monument (Photo by Bill Toninato)

The Franciscan Padres established missions  to teach the native population the Spanish culture, Christianity and a trade.  The military viewed the missions as a source of provisions and man-power.  It was only due to the zeal and protection of the Padres that kept the military from exploiting the population.  This appears to be true in all of the Missions.  In 1806, census records reported almost 900 neophytes with 570 of them Chumash. They were involved in ranching, farming, weaving, leather making and candle making.  The Chumash built the aqueduct to bring water from the Alamo Pintado River to the reservoir.

In 1824 there was an Indian revolt when a visiting Chumash Indian and a Corporal got into an argument.  The soldier began to whip the Indian and a revolt broke out.  The Chumash burned the soldiers quarters and the soldiers burned the Chumash houses.   When the church started on fire they all began to put out the fire and the boys ran to protect the vestments.  The revolt ended the next day.

In 1821 the Mexican Independence from Spain cut off supplies and money to the soldiers in California and the soldiers became reliant on the Missions for food and clothing.  Not a good time for the soldiers and they were not happy.

In 1835 the mission was secularized by the Mexican government and the Padres were replaced as managers by government appointed overseers.  The Padres were allowed only to provide for the spiritual needs of the Chumash, who were mistreated and they began to leave to mission.

In 1844 Saint Ines Mission became the first seminary in California – Our Lady of Refuge; and the first primary school for settlers was established along with the new seminary.   In 1862 President Lincoln returned the mission to the Franciscans.

Site of first school in California
Site of first institution of Higher Education in California

In 1904, 100 years after the Mission was first founded Fr. Buckler and his niece came to the Mission and began its restoration.   Some of the mission buildings were physically rebuilt with the help from Hobos passing through and the bell-tower was rebuilt after collapsing in 1911 with the help of some of the newly arrived Danish Settlers.


The Bell Tower
The Bell Tower


The Altar
The Altar




The Gardens were the temporary home of the Hobos who passed through to help them rebuild:

The Gardens
The Gardens
The Gardens
The Gardens
Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes
St. Francis
St. Francis and the wolf of Gubbio

The Mission is still very active today.  During the time we were there several children came, notebooks in hand.  Apparently they were going to attend after school religion classes.    Many of them were Indians, presumably  Chumash.


© HeididmSchmidt and Little USA Trips July 1, 2012.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to HeididmSchmidt and Little USA Trips with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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